Individuals Who Test Positive for COVID-19

Steps to take if you or someone you know tested positive for COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19 in Maine, Maine CDC will reach out to you by text message. Text messages will be sent from 22300. Individuals who test positive and are showing symptoms may be eligible for treatment to prevent severe disease. Learn more.

On this page:

 

How to isolate

  • A person should isolate if they tested positive for COVID-19 or if they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms. People who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate regardless of whether they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or are unvaccinated. If you have COVID-like symptoms but receive a negative test result, you can leave COVID-19 isolation.

    To isolate:

    • Stay home.
    • Have zero contact with anyone else, including household members. If complete isolation is not possible, practice social distancing and other prevention measures within the household.
    • Do not have any visitors.
    • Do not go out in public. This includes grocery stores, gas stations, banks, workplaces, etc.
    • The person can leave their sick room and house for necessary or emergency medical care. Please call the facility ahead of time to let them know.

When to leave isolation

Individuals may leave isolation when they meet the following criteria.

For isolation timing:

  • Day 0 is the day your symptoms started (or the day you were tested if you do not have symptoms).
  • Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms started or you were tested (if you do not have symptoms).
  • If you develop symptoms within 10 days of when you were tested, the clock restarts on Day 0 on the day your symptoms start.

For people who are not healthcare workers:

  • For people who did not have symptoms and had a positive COVID-19 test, leave isolation when:
    • At least 5 days passed since the date of the first positive COVID-19 test, AND
    • Symptoms do not develop in the meantime.
    • Wear a well-fitting face mask at all times around other people until:
      • After Day 10.
      • If you have access to antigen tests, you may be able to remove your mask sooner. On Day 6, if you test negative on two antigen tests in a row, spaced 48 hours apart, you can remove your mask.
        • If your antigen test is positive, you might still be infectious. Keep wearing a mask and test every 48 hours until you have two negative tests in a row, even after Day 10.
      • If you cannot wear a well-fitting face mask, you should remain in isolation until after Day 10 from your first positive test.
  • For people who had mild illness (fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness, loss of taste and smell, head and body aches), leave isolation when:
    • At least 5 days passed since since symptoms first appeared, AND
    • No fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication), AND
    • Other symptoms are improved.
    • Continue to wear a well-fitting face mask at all times around other people until:
      • After Day 10.
      • If you have access to antigen tests, you may be able to remove your mask sooner. On Day 6, if you test negative on two antigen tests in a row, spaced 48 hours apart, you can remove your mask.
        • If your antigen test is positive, you might still be infectious. Keep wearing a mask and test every 48 hours until you have two negative tests in a row, even after Day 10.
      • If you cannot wear a well-fitting face mask, you should remain in isolation until after Day 10 from your first positive test.
  • For people who had moderate illness (experienced shorness of breath or difficulty breathing), leave isolation when:
    • After Day 10 AND
    • No fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication), AND
    • Other symptoms are improved.
    • Wear a well-fitting face mask at all times around other people until after Day 10.
  • For people who had severe illness (you were in the hospital) or have a weakened immune system:
    • You should stay in isolation until at least Day 11. Talk to your healthcare provider about when you can leave isolation, since you may need to stay in isolation for a longer time. Only leave isolation if you:
      • Have no fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication), AND
      • Other symptoms are improved.
    • Wear a well-fitting face mask at all times around other people until after you leave isolation.
  • For people who are still experiencing a fever or whose other symptoms have remained the same or worsened:
    • Continue to stay in isolation until you meet the criteria above.

For people who are healthcare workers:

  • Work with your employer or workplace contact (occupational health, etc.) to determine when you can return to work.
    • Your employer will provide guidance based on your vaccination and booster status, staffing situation at your workplace, and this guidance from US CDC.

COVID-19 Treatment

  • For people who tested positive and had symptoms (even mild symptoms), you may be eligible for COVID-19 treatment. You can leave isolation to get COVID-19 treatment.
    • Find out if you are eligible for treatment to prevent severe disease and where to find treatment here.

Seeking healthcare

  • The only time anyone should leave isolation is to seek necessary or emergency medical care or for COVID-19 treatment. If you test positive and are showing symptoms, you may be eligible for medical treatment to prevent severe disease. Learn more about treatment options and how to access medicines here. For visits to any other medical facilities, please call ahead to let the facility know the individual is in isolation.

    If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face

    This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call a healthcare provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Let others know about exposure

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should let other people know that they might have been exposed. People can use this guidance to figure out their risk of getting infected after an exposure based on the specifics of the exposure like length of time, activity, masking, and others.

    People who are healthcare workers should work with their employer and this guidance to determine what they should do after an exposure.

What to do after COVID-19 exposure

  • As soon as you find out that you were exposed to COVID-19, start taking these precautions for 10 full days:

    • Wear a well-fitting face mask any time you are around other people or in an indoor public place.
      • Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask.
    • Watch for symptoms.
      • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested.
    • Take a COVID-19 test at least 5 full days after your last exposure.
      • If you test negative, continue wearing a mask and monitoring for symptoms until 10 full days after your last exposure.
      • If you test positive, isolate immediately.

    If you already had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, see these specific testing recommendations.

Where to find testing

How to seek help

  • Support is available for people who have difficulty staying at home for isolation. Examples of available support include:

    • Assistance with food and food delivery
    • Medication delivery
    • Necessary COVID-related transportation
    • Assistance finding testing, vaccination, and treatment
    • Cultural support and interpreters

    Visit the "COVID-19 Referral Form" to request support.

    Stressed by COVID-19? Visit "Mental Health Resources During COVID-19" for resources to help everyone cope with stress during this challenging time.